Review: jeff Warner

Photo: Andy Day

It’s always a pleasure to have Jeff Warner back at the club and his last gig before returning to New Hampshire was particularly good, starting off our season of American performers. He kicked off his first set with the Carter Family‘s My Dixie Darling to the delight of our chorus-loving audience – and there were plenty more choruses to follow. The next song in was The Lion’s Cage, a variety song which was popularised on both sides of the Atlantic by Julie Andrews in the 1970s .
The thing about Jeff is that he was brought up in the midst of the variety of music that his parents, collectors Ann and Frank Warner, had available. So not only does he sing songs from the legendary Frank Proffitt but owns a fretless banjo that Frank made for him in his youth. We all joined in with A Long Time Travelling.

Photo: Andy Day

Our own Alice Jones has been recording with Jeff on his recent CDs and joined him on a few numbers, including Hitting the Trail Tonight, Lazy Day from Smiley Burnette ( a film sidekick of both Roy Rogers and Gene Autry) and a lovely Amish song called Beautiful Life.

Photo: Andy Day

His wooden dancing doll graced the first half to the song Cindy, Cindy only to be upstaged by Alice in the second, dancing to the Tin Pan Alley song, The Girls They Go Wild Over Me and replicating the dancing doll’s arm swings to the amusement of the crowd.

Songs from The Tillett Family, Dan Emmet‘s Big Jim River with spoons accompaniment, variations on an English nursery rhyme, a recitation of Silver Jack, all contributed to a brilliant evening, to be crowned with his encore – A Southern Girl’s Lament.

Thanks to our supporting singers, former guests Peter & Barbara Snape (a fine union song called Hold The Fort from their latest CD), Mike & Helen Hockenhull (also former guests) with A Long Way from Home, fellow American Phil Cerney (When First to this Country a Stranger I Came), Sue Burgess (Broomfield Wager). Tim Edwards sang a night courting song, Chris Manners commented on the changing world with Nobody’s a Farmer Any More, and young Mossy Christian accompanied himself on muted fiddle with a Yorkshire song – Lady of Robin Hood’s Bay.

Johnny Adams